A lot of people dread speaking in front of many people. Sweaty palms, light-headedness, a fast-beating heart — these are just some of the symptoms of this fear. For most of us, we feel anxiety and trepidation when we are about to start a speech to twenty, fifty, hundreds, or even thousands of people. It wouldn’t matter if our speech or talk would be one that is face-to-face, or via a virtual meeting. We would still feel that unnerving tight knot in the stomach, and secretly wishing we weren’t assigned with that speech or talk to deliver.
Some say that the fear we experience leading to a public speaking schedule is actually a good trait because it makes us more conscious to deliver our speech in a successful manner. The nervousness can actually help us to compel or influence our minds to do good in our speech. Albeit that fear of public speaking, there are things or steps that we can do to lessen the agitation and fright. “Only the prepared speaker deserves to be confident”, the great American writer Mark Twain once said. Yes, preparing well ahead can reduce that fear.
So what preparations can we take prior to a public speech or speaking engagement? There are many ways. First, it pays to prepare well for the contents of our talk. Compose it according to the appropriate style for the topic. objectives, and the target audience, making sure to get across the message very clearly. The message should primarily address and cover the essential points against the objectives. Read it over thoroughly, noting conscientiously on correct grammar and pronunciation. Use humour in your talk to relate witty remarks, but not too excessively.
It would also be helpful to have a good personal appearance. Keeping neat and clean grooming, and wearing modest but well-fitting clothes can boost confidence. It is always believed that wearing a flattering wardrobe can make us feel good about ourselves. Wearing your hair neatly, enough makeup and minimal jewellery for women, a reputable timepiece for men, can also make a difference. Adopting a good posture will radiate confidence, which can also influence the way people will perceive you.
While delivering the talk, use a tone-level voice, modulating it appropriately by regulating your breathing. Avoid utilising a voice that has a high pitch, or low pitch, as either may come across to the listener irritatingly. Use your natural voice, but try to control it so that the tone and volume are just right. Vary your volume, pitch, and pace according to the points you are currently delivering. Be respectful to your audience. Find a familiar face in the crowd or in a virtual audience, and look at them while speaking. Seeing a friendly face can ease the nervousness and make you feel more relaxed and comfortable.
It would help to also ask a friend or a professional to help you remove that fear of public speaking. Esther Stanhope, dubbed as “The Impact Guru”, is a sought-after international speaker and author of “Goodbye Gloss phobia — Banish Your Fear of Public Speaking”. Having previously suffered from gloss phobia, she has overcome it and became a highly skilled public and virtual speaker. She has conducted nearly 5,000 celebrity interviews and thousands of hours of broadcasting for BBC. She has helped some of the finest companies like Barclays, Deloitte, and JP Morgan.
To further improve on your public speaking skills, I can help by sending me a message through here.